Did you know that it is possible to study or work in the United States and still bring your spouse and children? In this case, they need to obtain a companion visa, quite different from the traditional student or tourist visa.
To find out in which situations it is possible to issue this type of document and how to do it, follow the small guide we have prepared on the subject. Check out:
What is the Companion Visa?
As the name implies, the companion visa is an authorization to stay given to the family of someone studying or working abroad. It is offered to husbands and wives (including same-gender couples), and children up to 21 years of age.
Therefore, boyfriends, engaged or even parents who want to accompany their children on an exchange abroad are not entitled to a companion visa.
In fact, the main characteristic of this type of authorization is its validity, which follows the same as the entry visa of those who are going to work or study abroad, provided that the maximum limit of seven years is respected.
Furthermore, the companion visa guarantees the foreigner the right to open a bank account, obtain a driver’s license and enter and leave the country whenever he wants, as long as he is not away for more than five uninterrupted months.
In what situation can I apply for this type of US visa?
Companion visas for the United States vary according to the purpose of the applicant’s travel (study or work of who will be accompanied, for example). Below, we list some cases in detail:
This authorization is provided to dependents of applicants for a student visa (F-1 Visa), the one required for those who wish to study from Elementary School to Higher Education in the United States.
Important: although the F-1 Visa allows the foreigner to work while studying (only in a few cases), the F-2 Visa prohibits the traveler from exercising any type of paid occupation during his stay.
In addition, the companion cannot take long-term courses or attend a university in the country – for this, an F-1 Visa must be issued.
On the other hand, dependents under the age of 21 are authorized to attend Elementary School and High School (K-12) in the United States, preventing them from interrupting the educational cycle due to the parents’ travel.
This authorization is provided to dependents of foreigners who intend to exchange in the United States (J-1 Visa), with the exception of certain categories such as summer employment programs and au pairs.
Unlike the F-2, the J-2 Visa allows you to work in the country, as long as the foreigner has authorization from the US Immigration Service (Employment Authorization Document).
It is important to say that this special work permit can only be requested on American soil and is valid for one year, that is, it needs to be renewed annually until the stay visa expires.
On the other hand, foreigners with a J-2 Visa are fully permitted to study at any American institution, without the need for special authorization.
This authorization is provided to dependents of foreigners who are transferred to the United States for work, allowing them to work and study normally in the country for the duration of their stay.
In order to work, however, it is necessary to issue the Employment Authorization Document, the aforementioned special authorization provided by the US immigration service.
As with the J-2 Visa, dependent minors can also attend US schools and colleges as normal without needing any special authorization.
Finally, those who hold the L-2 Visa can also apply for the Green Card, a document that guarantees permanent stay in the United States.
To learn about the main categories of US visas (tourism, work, business and studies) and to understand how each one of them works, we recommend reading this text. For Spouse Visa Consult here
How to get a Spouse Visa?
Authorization issuance follows the standard for US visas, including interview and bio metric collection at Visa Applicant Service Centers .
However, it is necessary to present some extra documents to certify the marriage/paternity and to prove sufficient income to maintain the family in the country during the period.